The Customer Experience is one of the uber-buzzwords of our time. But while many take the customer experience to be synonymous with the buying experience that is a shallow and short-sighted view of it.
Getting the customer experience right is essential because as we move into the Digital Era, it will be the primary driver of organizational value. The ability to create, curate, and sustain a differentiated customer experience will be what determines the relative success of virtually every organization — public or private — in the very near future. And increasingly, nearly every facet of the customer experience is delivered or enabled digitally.
The customer experience is the totality of every interaction and engagement a customer has with an organization from their first pre-customer interaction until they no longer do business or interact with the organization in any way.
Some call this long-term stream of interactions the customer journey (although beware those that likewise use the term as synonymous with only the initial purchase journey).
At every stage of the customer’s journey there is an opportunity to delight them, build and deepen your relationship with them, increase the amount of time and money they spend engaged with you, and for them to tell others about their experience with you. Likewise, every step of the journey is an opportunity to do the opposite.
Why It Matters
Advances in everything from digital technologies to manufacturing processes has made it easier for customers to demand whatever they may want — and to find an organization that will give it to them.
The days of Henry Ford’s ‘Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black’ is long past.
Customers are universally choosing organizations who can deliver the experience they desire. Most organizations, however, remain optimized around industrial age operational models and, therefore, lack the capabilities to consistently deliver a differentiated experience to their customers. This creates a significant advantage for any organization that can build such a capability.
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